Anderson to serve 68 months in death of 20-year-old passenger in Watson crash
Braxton Monte Anderson will serve a 68-month sentence for conviction of criminal vehicular homicide in the Aug. 6, 2019, death of his passenger, Brittany Lynn Schulz, 20, of Appleton.
MONTEVIDEO — Braxton Monte Anderson, 35, of Montevideo, will serve a 68-month sentence for his conviction of criminal vehicular homicide in the crash that took the life of his passenger, Brittany Lynn Schulz, 20, of Appleton.
Judge Dwayne Knutsen on Tuesday in Chippewa County District Court in Montevideo sentenced Anderson to the presumptive sentence of 68 months. He ordered Anderson to serve a minimum of 45 and one-third months of the time in confinement, and allowed the remainder to be served under supervised release provided he has no disciplinary offenses in prison. Knutsen also ordered Anderson to make restitution, which is yet to be determined.
A Chippewa County jury on Aug. 6 found Anderson guilty of the offense. Anderson was driving a 1995 Saturn at 5:46 p.m. Aug. 6, 2019, when he made a left turn in front of a 2007 Cadillac Escalade at the parking lot to the Goose Bar in Watson. He was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time, according to the criminal complaint.
The victim’s mother, Rose Schulz, told the court before sentencing that her daughter’s death was like a “horrible, horrible dream” that never ended. “I lost someone special."
"You took my daughter’s choice for life away forever,” she told Anderson.
Rose Schulz was among seven who attended the sentencing in orange T-shirts bearing the message “an angel goes to heaven too soon” in memory of their lost loved one.
“I don’t think I will ever stop crying,” said Emily Schulz, a cousin to the deceased, in a victim impact statement to the court.
Anderson told the judge before sentencing that he was “truly sorry for what happened.” He said he was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time, and has committed himself to a life of sobriety and found Jesus. He asked the judge for mercy in sentencing.
Judge Knutsen said the court’s role was not to provide mercy. He said he wished he had the means to issue a sentence that would remove the family’s grief, but no sentence could do so. He said the law recognized with its penalty the extreme hurt caused by a homicide, and consequently would sentence Anderson according to the guidelines for the offense and his past criminal behavior.
The judge rejected a motion by the defense asking for a departure downward from the sentencing guidelines. Defense attorney Erica Allex said the driver of the Cadillac Escalade was culpable for a portion of what happened that day by speeding and failing to brake at the time of the crash.
Prosecutor Daniel Vlieger, an attorney with the state attorney general’s office, countered that two witnesses in separate vehicles behind the two in the crash had testified the other driver “didn’t even have a chance to brake” due to the sudden turn made by Anderson. Vlieger also noted that the Escalade was only one-fourth mile into a speed zone that had dropped from 60 to 40 miles per hour, and that the 5,000-pound vehicle was essentially three times the weight of the Saturn.
The prosecutors asked for a top of the box, or maximum, sentence of 81 months that sentencing guidelines allow for the offense when committed by an offender with a previous drug possession conviction. Vlieger said that, based on the presentence investigation conducted in the case, the defendant showed no remorse for this crime.
Allex argued that Anderson has expressed remorse for the crime. She challenged the presentence investigation, and filed a motion with the court asking the court to remove most of it or order a new one.
She said the presentence investigation included a medical opinion from an individual who was not a medical doctor. She also challenged how the report reached a conclusion that Anderson had a 100 percent likelihood to reoffend.